« ZurückWeiter »
consternation; and a general impression that the day of Divine vengeance was approaching.
The second internal evidence necessary in identifying these events with those of the sixth seal, is, that they should have a respect, in the order of time, to the same ulterior object as the former seals, and form a regular continuation of the same history.
Now the history of the church, as left by the fifth seal, during the opening of which Popery had received a fearful warning of its approaching downfall, was the feeling of disappointment expressed by the souls of the martyrs, that their blood should still remain unavenged. In answer to their expostulation it was intimated, that the day of retribution and vengeance would not be very long ere it arrived. Exactly, therefore, at the termination of the appointed duration of “ time, times, and a half,” or 1260 years, the above events, introduced by the French Revolution, and having the required character of retribution and vengeance, DID TAKE PLACE; and in the right order of time exhibit these closing scenes of its anti-Christian and fearful history.
The last internal evidence which this identi. fication required, was, that to these events should be attached the SEAL OF EMPIRE.
Accordingly, in the month of August, 1806, “ Francis of Austria,” says Sir Walter Scott, in
his History of Napoleon, "seeing the empire, of which his house had been so long the head, going to pieces like a parting wreck, had no other resource than to lay aside the imperial crown of Germany, and to declare that league dissolved which he now saw no sufficient means of enforcing ;” and therefore, In A PROCLAMATion of this date, which he issued, he laid aside “the influence and dignity of the holy Roman Empire, as that of Germany had for a thousand years been proudly styled ;” and absolved the electors, princes, states, and magistrates, from all those obligations by which they had been united to himself by the laws of the Germanic constitution. Perhaps no one act is more important in the eye of prophecy, than this proclamation. It annihilated the sixth, or imperial, head of the Roman empire, which had subsisted since the times of Augustus Cæsar, causing “the sun to become black as sackcloth of hair;" -it gave a permanent character to the changes caused by the French Revolution; and placed the affairs of the church under the dominion of Napoleon, the infidel Emperor of that country; who now became the seventh head of the Roman empire, and the successor of the Cæsars.
But the justness and correctness of this application of the events of the sixth seal to those
of the French Revolution, has yet a higher attestation, and admits of a still clearer demonstration; and that from another series of events, which is symbolized by the pouring out of SEVEN VIALS. They are denominated the seven Last plagues, and bear the most convincing proof that they are interwoven with the LAST two of the seven seals, with the ceasing of the sixth and the sounding of the SEVENTH trumpet.
In introducing them to our notice the Apostle says, “ And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is FILLED UP the wrath of God.” He then saw, having the harps of God, those who are represented in the fifth seal as expressing a feeling of disappointment at God's delaying vengeance; and, now that it is about to be poured out, he heard “ them sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb,” and expressing the most perfect approbation of his righteous and merciful dispensations. “ Great and marvellous,” they said, " are thy works, Lord God Almighty; JUST AND TRUE are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who would not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.”
The symbolical representations of the first five of these vials, as I shall now briefly endea
vour to point out, furnish a regular and connected historical outline of those great events which, in the sixth seal, were only given in general terms, and without any regard to order; and likewise, that they exhibit, in five distinct scenes, the different aspects which these awful judgments assumed, from their rise in 1789, to their close in 1815.
1. “ The first went and poured out his vial upon the earth : and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.”
This sore, which was thus to fall upon the PAPAL nations, we have had full proof was Infidelity, Atheism, or, as it is more politely called, Liberalism. It had been for many years concocting in Europe, as an ill-digested and virulent humour in the body politic, individually; but in the year 1789, such principles, producing their natural consequences of anarchy and insubordi- . nation, came into political existence at the breaking out of the French Revolution, denominated in the sixth seal “ an earthquake," and which Sir Walter Scott says, was “indisputably” on the 5th of May in that year; and which was like the breaking out of a loathsome, unsightly, and ulcerated sore. As Mr. Cuninghame most truly observes, “it was the prevalence of the spirit of revolution and infidelity, in all the countries overrun by the French armies, which facilitated the progress of their arms, and enabled them to burst through and overwhelm the barriers erected by the policy of ages, and cemented by the blood of the nations of Europe, against the undue aggrandisement of any particular state. It was these principles, even more than the numbers and discipline of the French armies, which delivered up the hapless countries around them to a tyranny more dreadful than that of ancient Rome.”_From 1789 to 1793.
2. “And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul in the sea died.”-Sea, in the language of prophecy, denotes a nation, or nations, in a state of violent agitation, set free from the restraints of all laws, and in the wildest disorder. Such was the state of France in consequence of the Revolution; and it is here represented as a period marked with extraordinary and pre-eminent slaughter. And “it became as blood ”-not as the blood of a living man, which continually circulates, but it was like the blood of a “dead man,” stagnating in all the veins and arteries of his body. And the French people were made, at this period, their own executioners to such a degree, that there was not perhaps, during what was called the REIGN OF TERROR-between 1793 and 1796--a city, a town, or village in the king